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Afyon Fortress

Fortress towering over Afyon is the most important and the most iconic symbol of the city. Its name - The Black Fortress (tr. Karahisar) - was officially incorporated into the name of the city, which since 2004 is Afyonkarahisar, that is the Black Fortress of Opium.

The hill on which stands the fortress, is of volcanic origin. Due to its strategic location and high altitude, which provided an excellent view of the surroundings, the area of the hill was fortified from time immemorial. To our times the fragments of fortifications from the Hittite period have been preserved.

Then, at the turn of the 14th and 13th centuries BC the Hittite ruler Mursili II fought in western Anatolia against the Kingdom of Arzawa and probably strengthened its military position by the fortified hill. The faint carvings on the walls of the fortress have been preserved to our times as a reminder of these events.

Since that time, the fortress was repeatedly rebuilt and expanded. Recent renovation, carried out in the times of the Republic of Turkey, made that the walls of the fortress seem to be rather white from the distance, and not black, as their name would suggest.

The very top of the hill offers wonderful view of the city of Afyon, but people being afraid of heights should think carefully about before climbing to the peak of the hill. In places, the view is stunning, and there is a precipice under the fragments of the walls.

Practical information

The fortress is situated on a high hill, located in the western part of Afyon. The path leading to the fortress area begins at the Afyon’s Grand Mosque. Before you start climbing it is worth to purchase a supply of drinking water, because the entrance is quite tiring – there are 570 stairs to cover, leading to the summit of the hill. While walking to the summit you will overcome a height of about 200 meters, and the peak of the hill is 1230 meters above sea level.

Admission to the area of the fortress is free of charge. If you plan to enter the fortress by the evening, you should bear in mind that both the old castle and the path leading to it are not illuminated.

text: Izabela Miszczak - Turcja w Sandałach